Best Practices for Choosing Captivating Social Media Images
Social media marketing may seem like old hat by now, but things are always changing on that front. Yes, people still spend an average of two hours every day on social media sites, but organic reach on Facebook has gone down, and Twitter is even struggling to retain active users. Meanwhile, both Instagram and LinkedIn are putting a greater emphasis on video than ever before.
So, does this mean that social media marketing is a sinking ship and that you should get out while you can? Absolutely not. It just means that there is more of a shift towards image sharing and video marketing than before. Facebook video is becoming more prevalent all the time, and it can be argued that part of the reason why Twitter seems to be on the decline is because it’s never placed a huge emphasis on photos and video.
Basically, all of this means that your social media marketing efforts should start to focus on choosing captivating images and videos. The best practices for doing this will vary depending on the platform you decide to use, so we’ll go through a few of the biggest sites and explain how to make the most of your visual marketing efforts.
LinkedIn is widely regarded as a network for business professionals, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be fun and engaging when it comes to posting content. While you shouldn’t be posting funny pictures and videos purely for entertainment purposes, it’s okay to come up with something that will get a laugh from users as you advertise your business or products. Of course, this will be much easier if you know your core audience. If your business is intended to appeal to straight-laced professionals, stick to sleek and elegant photos and videos that will tell your audience what they can expect from you. If your business’s image is a little more laid-back and appeals to a younger, hipper crowd, by all means loosen up and have some fun with your content. If you don’t know what kind of content would be popular with your audience, you can always look up your Company Page’s analytics to get a better ifea of what would go over well on your page.
Videos in particular have become huge with LinkedIn, much like they have with other social networks. LinkedIn also has autoplay enabled by default, which will increase the chances that your videos will be viewed by users. These videos should replace any kind of motion graphics on your LinkedIn page as well. Videos should be published as .mp4 files with an orientation of 1:1 or 16:9.
Since the vast majority of Twitter traffic comes from mobile devices, any images and videos you share should be easy to view from a smartphone or tablet. Remember that Twitter was conceived as a microblogging platform, so you can save the long videos and large pictures for Facebook. Twitter will also display multiple images in various orientations if you post more than one image. This might be okay if you’re posting only one or two photos, but it won’t do you any favors if you want to share several photos at once. In other words, pay attention to how many photos go out to your Twitter followers.
Also, don’t be afraid to be creative and funny with your Twitter images. That should go for posting on any social network, but it’s especially crucial for Twitter. People go through their Twitter feeds pretty quickly, so you need to be able to catch people’s attention with something clever that stands out from the crowd. If you can create a custom image that contains a clever caption, that’s even better. Just make sure that it’s not so big that part of your image or caption will be cut off when someone views it.
When it comes to social media marketing, Facebook is still the king, especially since it’s become so easy to share videos on the platform. That doesn’t mean you should be posting anything too long and involved on your page though. People like to scroll through their Facebook walls quickly, so any video that you post for marketing purposes should be between 60 and 90 minutes long. 85 percent of Facebook users also watch videos without sound, so don’t forget to include captions if you’re going to post a video with any kind of narration or dialogue.
Instagram isn’t as popular with social media marketers since it is harder to share links on the platform, but it is still large enough that it shouldn’t be ignored. Images on Instagram can now be set at different orientations besides the traditional square, so take advantage of this and use a vertical orientation that will make your captions easier to read.
Another great feature on Instagram is Instagram Stories. While it does take some time to set up a good Story, it enables users to view links on your images by swiping up in their devices. This can be great for driving traffic to your other sites or for gaining attention from your Instagram followers. The only drawback to this is that you will need at least 10,000 followers to implement Instagram Stories on your account. It is well worth your time once you have enough followers, but be prepared to wait until things start to get really interesting.
More General Advice
Even though every social media platform is a little bit different from the others, there are still some general pieces of advice to keep in mind. Basically, what works in visual advertising for years will continue to work when viewed from a computer screen. Keep videos relatively short and easy to consume, make use of striking images that will grab people’s attention, and keep testing new ads. Any social media marketing campaign you run will need to evolve or die, so take a look at your analytics, and continue to keep what works and drop what doesn’t. That will help your marketing efforts no matter what kind of social media platforms you prefer.
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